Everything You Need to Know About the “Ban the Box” Criminal Record Check Movement Spreading Across America

“Ban the box” policies are making headlines across America. This movement seeks to “ban the box” on employment forms that asks whether or not a job candidate has ever been convicted of a crime.

Employment ApplicationThe idea behind this movement is that boxes prevent former criminals from seeking gainful employment across America, which just pushes them back towards a life of crime.

For better or worse, the ban the box movement has created a mess of different policies across America, and many employers, employees, and lawmakers are confused.

What do you need to know about banning the box? Today, we’re sharing the most important things to know about this movement.

Half of Employers Believe It’s Unfair

In one study of employers across America, it was found that 48% of employers believe ban the box laws are unfair. Employers, after all, often want to know whether or not a future employee has committed a crime – including the type of crime that may have been committed.

That study involved 500 individual employers across a range of 24 industries, including technology, banking, healthcare, government/military, manufacturing, and professional services.

More than Half of Employers Are Ignoring the Law and Asking Employees to Self-Disclose

The same study linked above showed that more than half of employers (53%) continue to ask candidates to disclose their own criminal records on applications – regardless of whether a ban the box law has been passed in the state.

This isn’t really a loophole: job candidates can choose to self-disclose this information or not. The idea is that an employer will run the background check anyway, and the information will be revealed – so it’s in your best interest to tell your employer now before they find out later.

The Law is in Over 100 Cities and Counties and 18 States Across America

At the time of writing, ban the box laws had arrived in 18 states, including 100 cities and counties across America.

Which States Have Banned the Box?

Find your state in the list below to determine your local box ban policies.

-Statewide Ban the Box Policy: New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

-States and Individual Localities Have Banned the Box: Oregon, California, Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

-States Where at Least One Locality Has Banned the Box: Washington, Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut.

-No Ban the Box Laws Passed Anywhere in the State: Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Maine, and Alaska.

Ban the Box is Part of an International Campaign

Ban the box isn’t just an American movement: it’s a civil rights movement taking place around the world. However, America is one of the major battlegrounds and it’s also where the movement got its start.

The ban the box movement first popped up in Hawaii in the late 1990s, and then it faced a resurgence after the 2007 to 2009 recession. America – which incarcerates more people than any other country in the world – is seen as particularly valuable to the ban the box movement, because many otherwise good job candidates have been hit with a criminal record. Supporters of the movement often cite unusually harsh drug crime laws as a major driver of the movement.

Many Ban the Box Laws Exclude the Rule for Certain Sensitive Jobs (Like Working with Children)

Ban the box laws don’t typically require a universal ban on the box on application forms. Instead, most laws make exemptions for certain job titles – including jobs where you work with children, for example.

Certain Companies Have Implemented their Own Ban the Box Laws

Certain companies aren’t waiting for the box to be banned from their state, so they’ve gone ahead and implemented a company-wide banned box policy.

Target was the first major company to do this. They banned the box in October 2013.

Is It Good or Bad?

There are two main sides to the ban the box law.

On the one side, some people dislike the laws because it potentially exposes coworkers, employers, businesses, and customers to criminal activity.

On the other side, supporters claim banning the box makes it easier for former criminals to get jobs, which makes them less likely to re-offend and harm society as a whole.

Whether ban the box laws exist or not, it will always be legal to check someone’s criminal record here at CheckCriminalRecord.com. Remember: it’s a public records search, and you’re entitled to view the public records of anybody.